Friday, January 20, 2006
3:34 pm est
What do you do when you've gotten no response from a publisher and for a submission? You should always make
sure your submissions include SASE's or postcards for acknowledgement of receipt by the publisher, but how long should
you wait expecting/hoping to hear back from a publisher? Is it appropriate to call an editor or should you write or email
asking about the status of your submission and its review?
If you don't follow up after what seems to be a reasonable amount of time you may not,for example, discover the
proposal, manuscript or query letter never arrived, or that it got lost in the shuffle on a busy editor's desk. (One
publisher we know began nearly every letter he wrote with the phrase: "Your manuscript has just surfaced on my messy desk..."
) While you should not call or write more than once or twice, it is adviseable and acceptable to contact the publisher asking
for a status report on it. You have that right and obligation to yourself and to your work, in fact.
Being respectful of a publisher's or editor's time is thoughtful, but it may have never been seen or reviewed
if it has never been acknowledged. You have the right and the responsibility to take your work as seriously as you take the
editor's work. Give them a call or send a note asking for a status report if you've had no acknowledgement or response in
about a month's time.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Style and Substance
2:12 pm est
The first question an editor often asks about a manuscript is , "Is it worth doing?" the second question is often, "Is
it done well?" Those two questions provide a solid foundation and beginning from which to decide whether further time and
energy are warranted in evaluating a project. Often an editor can tell within a very brief amount of time whether the manuscript
or proposal is worth doing or/and done well. The volume of work an editor experiences hones the editor's ability to decipher
the initial worth and merit of the subject/topic and the writing itself.
Style and substance are both critical factors in manuscript review and consideration. If you can provide some context
and/or argument for why your manuscript has substantial merit you may also persuade an editor to spend more time and energy
on it. Your approach and style have to be appealing and engaging in order for that to happen. Your presentation of yourself
and your material make all the difference in opening that possibility.
Style and substance. Is it worth doing? Is it done well?
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